Writer's Bloc turns 15: Time to catch the theatre of our times

Updated: Dec 07, 2016, 15:30 IST | Dipanjan Sinha |

Entering its 15th year, Writer's Bloc is abuzz with a plan to celebrate the art of playwriting

A moment from the play Naqqaash
A moment from the play Naqqaash

This month will mark 15 years of an idea that led to the emergence of 50 new playwrights and 41 plays that have been staged across India. Between December 2016 and March 2017, the British Council will present staged readings of plays from Writer’s Bloc, an initiative by the British Council, The Royal Court Theatre in London and RAGE theatre in Mumbai to discover, train and introduce new playwrights to Indian audiences. The line-up also includes interactions with playwrights and a workshop by Writer’s Bloc alumni to be conducted across nine cities.

Shernaz Patel
Shernaz Patel

Shernaz Patel, founder-partner of RAGE, who has actively participated in the programme since its inception says, “Writer’s Bloc has championed the burning need for new stories and plays written by our own young playwrights in their language, and stories about the India we live in today.”

Patel says that over the years, there has also been a shift in the kind of stories she has received. From life in a bustling metro to a tiny village in Manipur, from a war-torn Kashmir to a middle-class man facing redundancy at the workplace, from hilarious political spoofs to bitter-sweet tales, thrillers to complex dramas, the plays cover a gamut of human experiences.

“Earlier, most of the plays were about relationships and family, now a lot of people are writing about the larger picture that also includes the corporate world and public spaces,” she says.

In Mumbai, the events begin tomorrow with the Marathi play Shillak, followed by the Hindi play Naqqaash, along with a workshop on playwriting by Anuvab Pal on December 3. Sharon Memis, director West India, British Council, says, “What I love about Writer’s Bloc is how it encourages linguistic diversity; whilst some playwrights chose English, others did not. I love the richness of Indian languages, so I am absolutely thrilled that we are opening this celebratory festival with two play readings, both of which are not in English.”

On: December 2 and 3, 7pm 
At: 901, 9th floor, Tower 1, One Indiabulls Centre, 841, Senapati Bapat Marg, Elphinstone Road (W)
Log on to: www.britishcouncil.in/events

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